Road Trip: Hudson Valley
When I first fell in love with Upstate New York, it was by way of the roads I would aimlessly drive while living in the small town of Rosendale. On any given day, these excursions would lead me to roadside oddities, wide open spaces and conversations with locals. It was through this exploration that I was able to discover how truly special the area is and how much it has to offer the common passerby.
After working on And North for over two years now, my visits now are as much a collection of pit stops to see old friends as they are an excuse to discover and overturn a new gem. With its close proximity to the city, vibrant culture and diverse landscape, the Hudson Valley is the perfect region to explore by car, with a network of towns and cities connected by scenic roads that cascade up and down mountain ridges.
Our team set out one bright Saturday morning for the Hudson Valley with an extensive list of places to visit. These long summer days make us feel like anything is possible and we often pack a weekend’s worth of excursions into a single day trip. After filling the car with summer essentials−bathing suits, camera gear and iced coffee−Design Director Tim LaSalle, Editorial Director Sylvie Morgan Brown and I felt ready to begin our adventure. Ninety minutes on I-87 flew by as we listened to our favorite songs and planned the rest of our busy summer. Before we knew it, we were taking exit 19 for the city of Kingston.
Originally the capital of New York State, Kingston has a rich history as well as a strong community of creatives and new businesses. We headed downtown to the the Rondout District to visit Broadway, a steep street leading towards the Hudson with some of our favorite shops and bars in all of upstate. Once an important port in the 1800s, this district has incredible 18th and 19th century architecture, and is one to keep an eye on as it expands and flourishes further.
Starting at the top of the street and working our way down, we stopped into Hops Petunia, a floral design and gift shop specializing in wild arrangements and unique objects. Directly next door is the newly opened Clove and Creek, a locally focused mercantile with a curated collection of goods for the home, body and spirit. Together, they compliment each other perfectly and offer differing goods within a similar palette.
Whenever we travel to Kingston, we make sure to visit Brunette Wine Bar. This former barber shop turned wine bar is where you’ll find longtime upstate weekenders, Jamie and Tracy Kennard, pouring natural wine and unique bar snacks from behind their elegant marble bartop. If you find a bottle you love, make sure to visit Kingston Wine Co. up the street to grab a similar bottle or two for the weekend from the shop’s knowledgeable owners, Michael and Theresa Drapkin.
After spending the morning in The Roundout, we packed into the car with picnic supplies in tow, and set off for the next location. After a 25-minute drive north, we arrived at the trailhead to the historic 1869 Saugerties lighthouse, a stunning stone structure that is now a bed and breakfast, preserved by the Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy. We walked along the half mile trail surrounded by willow trees, tidal pools and patches of wildflowers until the path opened up to present the Hudson River in all its glory. After a picnic on the lighthouse’s deck, accessible to the public, we found ourselves eager to run into the blue river dotted with green lily pads. As soon as our feet touched the warm water it became clear that this was the moment we were waiting for all year. We stood there, water up to our thighs, looking out at The Hudson with kayakers floating by. It was one of those summer moments you live for.
There is nothing like an afternoon in the bright sun to inspire an appetite. We crossed the river and drove to Gaskins, a new favorite gathering place for the local community and Hudson Valley visitors. Set in Germantown, just a 15-minute drive from Hudson, Gaskins features a seasonally-changing menu of classic American dishes where ingredients from nearby farms can shine. We sat on the porch overlooking Luddite, a beautiful new antique store, and dined on burrata with garlic scape pesto, house-made cavatelli and sugar snap peas. It was only 6 p.m. and we all smiled knowing that we still had three more hours of light ahead of us.
The drive to Hudson took us down glowing country roads as the sun slowly descended. Hudson is one of those cities that is unlike any other with its exceptional architecture, fine antique stores and vibrant community. Whenever we visit, we make sure to visit 2 Note Botanical Perfumery, a small-batch perfumery that also sells an incredible assortment of bath and body products, Red Chair for their beautiful collection of french antiques and Hawkins, NY, for their modern tableware, furniture and accessories. Mostly, we like to wander the side streets and alleyways to peer at the homes, some restored, some covered in a stunning patina of time.
When we finally lost the summer light, we checked into the Rivertown Lodge, a 27-room boutique hotel that is set in a 1920s movie house. Designed in partnership with Workstead, it is simple and modern with hints of a rustic early American decor. We laid our things down in our cozy room and walked downstairs to the handsome hotel bar for a whiskey. We recounted the day, a beautiful reprise from our usual busy weekends of photoshoots and events.
It is still amazing to us after exploring the area for so many years, how much there is still to see, how many wonderful people we have yet to meet and how well time slows down when you are in a state of constant exploration.
Words Emma Tucillo Photography Emma Tucillo, Katie Lobel, Tim LaSalle, Samantha Goh
And North is a curated guide to upstate, NY, featuring the best of travel and lifestyle north of NYC. And North was created to inspire creativity and collaboration among those interested in connecting the neighborhoods of NY with the vibrant regions that lie North.